The Art Experience

Snow crunching footsteps echoed through the phone, carrying a million memories, warming my heart. I listened with closed eyes as we spoke, enjoying the sound of his voice and foot plantings. It’s a sound in the snow most heard when temperatures drop considerably.

I have run and walked miles in that kind of weather, breath forming frost, lungs singing from chilled air. Eyelashes laden in ice. The temperature brings such wondrous clarity of perspective, Cobalt blues, periwinkles, light sparkling.

Hearing my brothers gentle timbre among his rhythmic gait, with snow underfoot on a mountain hike, transported me there with him, and to our childhood, bringing a wonderful sense of peace.

Some believe as a nature artist, inspiration comes from the aesthetic, by strong visuals of the landscape. Truthfully, it is in accessing all our senses while in nature that makes artwork come alive. What we see is only a part of the process. What we hear, sense, smell, touch, the feel of the temperature, and emotional connection, all of these elements combine to bring the experience to the viewer.

Having this kind of awareness in nature will assist in recalling the experience later. It’s good practice for anyone. In times of stress or waiting in long lines ups, how wonderful to be able to recall a special place with mind, body and spirit, bringing a welcome sense of peace or invigorating energy.  

I recently read the tremendous positive effect in the act of viewing art ( emotionally, physically, mentally), occurs because it is direct human experience. Human experience to human experience. We are hardwired to react deeply to our first language, which is art. 

It’s this powerful communication that can spark connections with people beyond borders, spoken language and history. Direct human experience resonates.

One article suggests, it is also because art can depict sense of spirit. That art “not only has a spiritual quality, but a moral one.”

ART ~

  • Snowy Forest~ 18×24 oil on canvas ~ $1,460
  • Lake~  8×10 acrylic on birch ~ $600
  • Above the Trees ~ 18×24 acrylic on canvas ~ $1,460

Top photography taken by my brother.

Further reading links below.

https://www.strathmoreartist.com/blog-reader/5-reasons-why-looking-at-art-makes-your-brain-happy.html

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10339-017-0805-x

Awe

Instilling a sense of wonder can heighten every dimension of human experience, physical, emotional, mental and spiritual.

The tremendous impact of this isn’t to be overlooked. 

“Researchers define awe as the feeling we get in the presence of something larger than ourselves that challenges our usual way of seeing the world. A great work of art, a breathtaking vista, a moving speech, the first flowers of spring—these can all evoke awe.” Juliana Breines PHD “Mindfulness”, March 2016.

Awe can decrease feelings of loneliness, increasing feelings of connectivity with others. It will lower blood pressure and inflammation, increase happiness, compassion and resilience. It will inspire curiosity, creativity, innovative thinking, and offer a sense of place in the world. Not only does awe lower stress, it’s stated it can” transcend our frame of reference.”

Experts state now more than ever, we need to ‘protect our sense of awe’ as we emerge from a global pandemic where much of humanity has been isolated. 

There is great importance to reacquaint with, recognize necessity of one another, and to our deep restorative connection to nature.

“One experimental group, when asked to draw pictures of themselves, literally drew themselves smaller in size after having an awe experience. Such an effect has been termed “unselfing”. This shift has big benefits: As you tap into something larger and your sense of self shrinks, so too do your mental chatter and your worries. At the same time, your desire to connect with and help others increases. People who experience awe also report higher levels of overall life satisfaction and well-being. 

It also helps us build relationships. Though feeling awe frequently happens in solitude ,it draws us out of ourselves and toward others and inspires pro-social behaviour like generosity and compassion

“As the pandemic era goes on, more than ever we need ways to refresh our energies, calm our anxieties, and nurse our well-being. The cultivation of experiences of awe can bring these benefits and has been attracting increased attention due to more rigorous research.

Not surprisingly, art and nature experience are at the top of most recommended lists of instilling wonder.

Cultivating daily awe is also a practice, with experience one can develop a sense of wonder in what may previously gone unnoticed.

"A popular practice known as an “awe walk” involves simply getting outside somewhere that nature surrounds you and being aware and appreciative of the beauty of our planet.
 Of course, awe-inspiring experiences come in all shapes and sizes—like beauty, awe is in the eye of the beholder. Works of art are often considered awe-inspiring, and for good reason. Art is a purposeful representation of emotions or stories, and being able to appreciate the intentions of the creator (or even your own interpretation of the work) can bring tingles to anyone’s spine.” Life Intelligence: awe and the overview effect what wonder can do for your well being.

~

All original paintings are available for purchase with the exception of the last image: Lake.

Sunrise ~ oil 18×24

Sunflower~ oil 5×7

Flowers~ oil 8×10

Boreal Shore ~ oil 8×10

Summer Retreat ~ oil 18×24

Family ~ 12×16 acrylic on board

Sky ~ 8×8

Lake ~ 5×7

Please be in touch if you would like to add wonder to your spaces with my original work. This month has been a very special time for me to create new work and enjoy the wonder of creativity. Next month I will be returning to three other jobs, with very limited time to paint.

With limited art available, if there are paintings that you wish to welcome to your spaces. I urge you to connect soon. Thank you for your continued interest!

dawn@dawnbanning.com

New Year

It’s fascinating to witness people speeding into 2023 with such exuberance. For some, it’s about putting last year ( perhaps last few?) behind them.

A new year on the calendar may represent new beginnings and letting go of the past. With global protocols evolving, it may signify reuniting with family and friends, returning to the gym, travelling, or wandering art galleries.

Winter Magic 18×24 original

New Year’s Resolutions abound with possibilities.  Goals are shared over networks, among friends, family and neighbours while shovelling snow. Or to anyone who will lend a listening ear. 

While I share and commend their enthusiasm, most of you know I have never made New Year’s resolutions. 

The simple reason? I believe each day is an opportunity for growth and renewal. With each sunrise arrives possibility, the ability to dream and plan for new beginnings, to evolve and reflect. In a way, I celebrate New Year’s every day.

Dec 29~ before sunrise

While some grasp the New Year with unbridled enthusiasm, if life allows, I like to spend the month enjoying restoration and routine.

I love the month of January, one of the quietest months of the year. It embodies winter, in delicacy and light. Snow brings welcomed muffled sound. The birds of spring have not yet arrived. Stillness of winter on the cusp of a new year is alluringly beautiful. 

December is commonly known as the month of peace, yet I find it’s January where peace unfolds. 

I am especially relishing these early quiet weeks in January. 

I do hope to continue to pursue art, when time allows. As a business that work is dependent on demand and sales.

This year begins with a brand new opportunity working for a new company. Perhaps as early as this month, I will be gardening & landscaping in two locations full time. 

I am so grateful to be starting 2023 with a 3rd job in work opportunities I enjoy! 

HAPPY NEW BEGINNINGS friends! thanks for following, and collecting the work.

May you be well, safe and happy. 

~d

Please feel free to share posts, website/ instagram/ Linked In with those you may feel will enjoy, or collect original art. I encourage you to do this with any artists work you follow. It’s an easy free way to assist artists who continue to find challenges in these times. 

New work in progress

Valued Time and Breathing Deeply


Returning to painting is like taking a long drink of fresh air and basking in the warm summer sun.

I am so grateful to recent collectors purchases which enable me to step to the easel for the moment. This allowance is precious, time is valued. I won’t waste a second.

Paintings that seem to have all the elements of a great composition, may sit undiscovered or passed by, making the studio feel a little like the land of misfit toys. 

Putting work put aside for lengths of time, then examining with a critical eye encourages growth. Regardless of whether I see room for improvement, without storage here, the work needs to be sorted.

It’s felt therapeutic to sand work down, cull, or infuse compositions. Sorting the collection is a wonderful way to start fresh in a new studio.

With winter weather arriving and my summer landscaping tools stored for the moment, I have had valued time to breathe deeply in the studio, testing both skill and vision.

My painting sea legs are returning with vigorous exuberance. The new work expresses energetic life affirming connectedness to nature. 

Working in landscaping daily,  living surrounded by pines, within sight and sound of a great lake infuses the artwork in a way, perhaps, like never before.

New work~

SKY~ 18×24 oil on board $1330.oo

WATERFALL~ 16×20 oil on canvas $1130.oo

MOON~ 8×10 oil on canvas

LAKE~ 12×24 oil on canvas ~ $1130.oo

New increased pricing in January! Please email to purchase dawn@dawnbanning.com

Seasons

One of the great wonders of the Canadian seasons is the inspiration they create. 

A friend made this observation when she moved to a tropical country that lacked definite seasons.

Happy to retreat from harsh Canadian winters, she loved the tropics.

“But,” she said, “ I really began to miss our dramatic change of seasons, not just the visual display, but the change of activities and inspiration they bring.”

We spoke of how that inspiration is transferable to growth within.

Each season can inspire change for betterment of health, career, residence, and new pursuits.

It’s easier to see new horizons when the one before us transforms and blossoms.

 The only constant is change. The seasons prepare us to let go, teaching appreciation in the evolution of change. 

New ART shown above

( plien air acrylic)

New~ Winter Path 11×14 775.oo

New ~ commission ~ Sea Path 8×10- SOLD

( Photos L&R Dawn, centre, Darin Larson)

New Sky & Clouds 9×12 580.oo

Birches~ Client collection, shown in clients home.

 Water Wonders

“If you have grown up near a body of water, ( that ‘connection’) it never really leaves you.” My friend Joanie McGuffin said as we watched morning blossom over the lake recently.

Her truthful and poetic words, spoken in the beautiful way of Joanie, resonated with me. I was suddenly aware of this constant my entire life. I have been fortunate to reside by fresh and salt water lakes, mountain rivers, urban creeks, the pacific ocean, and now, as Joanie would said, the ‘big water’ of a great lake. 

I can hear the gentle lap on the shore from the farthest point on our property. In the house I have felt it’s thunderous waves during a storm. The palette, moods, colours and sounds change as frequently as the wind. 

The sky overhead and pine trees teem with life. This is a migratory path of butterflies, and birds of all kinds. 

It’s a blessing to witness and be a part of this nature hub every day.

All of earth’s inhabitants, including humanity’s survival depends on these wonderful ecosystems, clean air, great and small bodies of water, boreal forests and wild grass prairies. The majestic glaciers, mountains, valleys nourish our bodies and spirits. 

It’s a passion of mine to encourage others to venture outdoors and become acquainted with nature. 

I suggest being conscious of living with nature elements, to include nature within architectural & interior design. This isn’t just a personal pursuit, there is scientific evidence exhibiting the benefits of including nature within our interior spaces.

Nature focused art plays an active role in biophillia.

I could choose any subject matter to paint, and follow trends that excite and challenge viewers. 

In truth, nature is always there to excite, challenge, delight and nourish us. I feel a sense of responsibility in the art I choose to create, for both subject matter and audience. 

You may not live near a great body of water, but by including these views in your spaces, you may feel it’s essence.

You are invited feel the shore beneath your feet, hear gentle waves, morning birdsong and bathe in the peaceful beauty of it all. 

By creating emotional experience of being immersed in nature, I gently encourage people to establish and grow a healthy, connected relationship with the great outdoors.

~

New Dawn 5ftx 3.3 ft $6,500.00 ( 2021 pricing)

Serenity ( Ocean) 16×20 $1,150.00

email dawn@dawnbanning.com asap to purchase. please feel free to share the wok, posts and my social media pages with others.

Evergreen


Working as a gardener has not diminished my creative skills. It’s enhanced them. 

The last few years have been filled with transitions, peaks, valleys and big decisions. After living in a busy noisy city, then cramped in a dark construction zone townhouse for a year, it is an absolute joy to be surrounded by, and work each day in nature.

Getting acquainted with landscape is a form of communication I love best. It requires gentleness, hardiness, stillness, observation and active engagement. Beauty abounds here. Contrasts bloom in the landscape, weather, and in tasks. My gait has evolved in these pursuits, with a sense of grounding in every step. 

Taking a break from the brush has been necessary, and welcome. A return to it will be with lungs full of fresh air, mind body and spirit reconnected with and immersed in nature. Tending the earth is soul enriching.

I have not stopped creating. 

The juices happily flow within landscaping and design. For the last year, Architect Michael Shocrylas has been amazingly patient with my questions and drawings collaborating on the design of our new home. Apart from jointly choosing the wood floor, Marc has asked me to design all interior and exterior materials. 

It’s been a joy to create in three dimension. To consider the landscape where the home sits, working with budget and restrictions, practicalities all the while thinking of how we move, live in space and transition to the outdoors. No detail has been left unattended, considering how we dwell, form, function, the landscape, views, colour, light, interior and exterior, transitions within. The Build is still an ongoing project, and will be for years to come.

I have relished choosing materials in unique ways, like applying flooring tile for backsplash. Asking skilled trades to trust my vision when they asked to do something new has made the project feel collaborative from the start. It’s been so creatively rewarding, I considered a new career, and blog dedicated to the build. 

It’s an unusual time to build, with pandemic pricing and material delays, there have been many opportunities to solution solve, be adaptable with vision and direction. All valued lessons. 

It helps to know one’s partner very well when taking on a big task like this. I have spent days with measuring tape watching Marc in our previous homes to see his comfort levels in space. I have observed which side he is mostly likely to open a cupboard from, and what kind of storage he prefers. I know his likes and dislikes with assurance choosing palettes and materials he responds positively to. 

It’s been necessary to be involved from the beginning of this project. Creating has been divided between the brush and the build until I stopped painting 4 months ago.

Putting the brush down was a decision from a business and personal perspective. It can be disheartening to create work only to store it. “Part of your problem,” an artist said,” is that you are too prolific. Ease off on the production.”

But as my new landscaping employers have discovered, I have one favourite work speed, and that’s whirlwind.

Last week I ventured into my unfinished studio to unpack a few things. Fingering tools, I couldn’t resist starting something new, restricted using what paints I have, knowing, if I create a new painting, one in my inventory has to go. I do not have storage space to collect work here. 

It gives one pause on what and how to begin. 

Instead of the brush, I chose rubber spatulas. The work felt necessarily tactile, familiar like the earth and gardens I tend daily. Layers of paint mingled in movement and light. 

The evergreens I love so much came to life in a way that felt dimensional and new. 

And isn’t that one of the greatest gifts of original work, to bring forth experience in a unique and dynamic way?

Evergreens 16×20, oil on canvas $1,300.00

Roots


Monet built his garden to paint in the way a chef plants a kitchen garden to feast from. 

With the help of master gardeners he created a sanctuary that still thrives over a century later. The Inspirational natural splendor of Giverny draws 400,000 visitors, annually. 

Conservation is often communicated in the concept of preserving huge acreages of land. Small plots, lovingly tended also significantly protect nature. Landscape can encouraged, like Monet’s vision, peppered with ponds, lilies and trees that feed the soul, and the ecosystems.

I have been thinking about gardeners and their canvas’s alot recently, because now I am one. 

I have put down my paintbrush for work gloves.

My new occupation, landscaping & gardening, currently 7 days a week, is at a farm bnb just a 15 min drive from our new home.

At work, I am surrounded daily by 10 acres of forest and meadow. Pathways thru the partially planted meadow wind back to the original homestead. Leslie and Bob purposefully nurture the land, ecosystem and pollinators. The farm is interspersed with gardens and veggie patch, where Chef Leslie harvests fare for her delicious culinary masterful meals. ( see @the.walnut.grove.bnb on instagram or online website)

When they approached me to fill in after their head gardener left, I happily accepted. It’s work I love and know the care they have for the land, evolving an educational nature experience for guests.

I also have an acre of land awaiting my hands at our new home in the country.

Creative visions emerge gazing at groves of pine and fields of possibility. My Mom’s tools are always with me, day to day in my pack, at my day job and at home. How she’d love to have been a part of this new chapter, to be an active participant in creating my garden.

Deciding to put the brush down was not easy. It’s hard to say whether I return to it as a business full time again. It’s no secret the last two years have been hard on many business’s and brushes around the world. I like to think I have been inventive on how I have continued to promote the work. The right business decision isn’t always the easy one. 

Artists across the country have similar stories, like mine, and, have been pressured to pursue other work. Many, down 90% in sales in the last year. 

Some resilient artists have inspired me how they have pivoted, evolved or changed their careers.

Do something that feeds your soul,” a friend said.

 I have discovered a renewed connection with both of my parents while working in landscaping. An exciting recent job offer came from an arborist. He was curious about my acquired knowledge of trees. When I mentioned my history growing up in parks, crediting both my parents, “Well, now that’s something you don’t hear every day.” He said. 

Their lessons still influence my work and how I think of the land. Nature’s grounding presence permeates my life. The way I imagine landscape design, how to work with the land and create gardens is a testament of their work. My connection with nature is as much about my parents and their gifts, as it is about me.  

Dwelling among natural landscapes, gardens, or connecting with it in art is a to live a good life. 

~~~~~~~

Gardening checks a lot of boxes for me, though I miss painting, my heart is still joyful. It’s immersive outdoor work, serene and physical. 

If you’d like to purchase original art, email me, I am selling my remaining inventory.  I will be happy to help you with your art collection and contribute to your nature experience. 

Nature & Humanity Connection


For me, honouring a nature scene with paint and brush comes with responsibility.  

My specialty is delivering emotional content of the landscape, in that specific moment in time. 

In order to transport you to a specific place and moment involves understanding how emotions respond to subject, light, colour and shape. Careful observation helps to achieve this.  It requires clever composition and knowledge in how to declutter or soften the noise of a scene. What information to keep, what to ignore, is one of the biggest challenges.

A selection of my work with my research photos beside these paintings is below shows you how I find my way in a painting.

Energy and emotion can be relayed in colour values, brushstrokes, definition, and focus. When I am in nature, I am absorbing information, tapping into emotion and focus on the energy around me.

My work is not always site specific. The large Killarney painting is a perfect example. ( available for purchase, shown in collection photo above with desk )

Like many who witness these beautiful shores, I was taken with the warmth and colour of the amazing red rock. The day we hiked to this particular outcropping it was overcast with rain on the horizon. 

The northern skies can be really amazing. I thought about how often this area is painted by so many, with primary focus on the rocks and shore. as in this 8×10 I painted below.

What if I created a large painting of this area, focusing on the sky, on a beautiful transformational sky with the shores secondary? It would be unique and a testament to the amazing skies often seen in the north. Painting it in soft palettes and realistic brushstrokes would contrast with the shore.  

The area has many lovely little islands of these gorgeous rocks, dotted with windswept pine, that you don’t always see from a chosen vantage point. I wanted to convey their abundant continuance, so I included them in this scene. In this way, the painting isn’t site specific, yet it honours the region, and those beautiful sky scapes.

Being present in nature, we don’t always witness the all the beauty before us. Attention depends on personal mood, time spent, etc. While moving in the landscape, focus may be on the path ahead. 

The concept of transporting you to a landscape artfully, is to allow you to be present in a way you may not have been able to in person. It’s an offering to observe motion, colour, light, movement, and to be emotionally connected. To be included. You have the unique opportunity to be still, and yet be engaged, immersed in nature at the same time. 

Originals “Mountain”, “Sky and Rocks”, 4ft x 3ft $4,750. each, collections of 8×10’s shown available for purchase. $550 each.

Limited inventory is available. I will not be picking up the brush to paint again for some time.  I’m happy to assist you building your collection, or selecting gift purchases. Please contact me with your selections, or to further inquire about what is available. dawn@dawnbanning.com

More on the Art of Story


A wonderful benefit from purchasing or sharing original art & craft, is that it is often accompanied by a story. It may be the story of the maker, their inspiration, materials, or of the item itself. The story evolves to include the collectors story, why this piece is special to them. Stories can connect the collector more deeply to the experience of the piece, and reflect value. 

Possible Dialogues: “I bought this on ebay.” OR, “ I purchased this from a 4th generation craftsman who lived on the shores of the mediterranean,” They may be the same price, yet the second may be treasured, along with it’s story, in a very different way. It will become a part of the family’s connection and legacy. 

What’s really fascinating for me, is how much people crave narrative. We are rooted in story. 

I started this blog because it was required by collectors, dealers and fans. “it is no longer acceptable to just reveal art. We want stories. If you don’t want to share painting stories, give us something else.” It was a challenge I am still figuring out. Your positive response to my last post is encouraging that sometimes, I get it right. 

Sharing art, craft, traditions, and story may strengthen family bonds, and help introduce new perspectives. Infusing our lives with what is made by someone’s loving hands, and re telling the story, can help us feel grounded in our humanity. They remind us of our resilience, and innovativeness.

Storytelling, in itself, is an ancient and artistic craft.

One of my fondest memories from living in the north is of the Yukon Storytelling festival.
When a friend suggested attending, I had visions of rambling ‘ big fish’ tales onstage.
A karaoke for talkers.
I couldn’t have been more inaccurate.

The seeds for the festival sprouted in the 1980’s when one of the Yukon’s last Tagish speakers shared her stories to a global audience in Toronto.
The Yukon Storytelling festival began in 1988, growing to include storytellers from all over the world, with an emphasis on First Nation and circumpolar countries.

The festival hosts professional ‘tellers’, who are as diverse as the crowd. Stories range in mythical or true events, often moving, educational, or funny.
Visualize sort of an outdoor inspirational Ted Talk, without the big screen and cushy seats.

Perched on a grassy knoll under a canvas tent that balmy summer evening, captivated, we witnessed inspiring flawlessly performed stories.


The event had a wonderful ancient primitive pull to how we shared stories in the past, gathered in tents or caves, around campfires, or in Grandma’s kitchen.

Stories weave us together in history. A powerful educational tool, stories are an evolving tapestry of society and culture.

Art began before the written word, as a form of communication, sharing stories, myths & legends.
Painting in it’s own right is an amazing conduit of connection, a story without words, inviting the viewer to participate.

~

These will be the last new paintings for quite awhile, as I prepare to move next month. It takes 3 weeks or more for art to dry, in order to transport, it’s time to clean up the studio. 

I would love to hear from you. Please check my recent posts and instagram for available to purchase, including these 3 new pieces. email me dawn@dawnbanning.com

Deer”- a familiar and favourite landscape of mine to paint. I have always wanted to attempt it with the deer I often see on the horizon.Also, Introducing a new colour for me, India Yellow by Gamblin.  DEER is 18×24 ~ $1330.oo

Sunflower” 5×7 $400.oo

Calla Lilies ( Peace Lily)~ 8×8 $500.oo

( Yukon painting, not for sale ~ gifted )

~ Top photo STORIES~ The DEER reference and my affinity for them is made early on in this photo, Growing up in Provincial Parks, we occasionally assisted wildlife on their journey. This young fawn needed help when it lost its mother. I remember bottle feeding it, and being so thrilled with this gentle little spirit. The animals were never pets, they were nurtured and returned back to the wild when they were able.

Second photo~ enjoying the lake with a cousin in one of the parks we lived. Growing up in nature has influenced my work in so many ways, not just subject matter. I am forever grateful to our parents for giving us such a remarkable life experience.